Why You Should be Tracking Your Time in the New Year

| January 3rd, 2013 | ,

Why You Should be Tracking Your Time in the New Year The first week of January marks a new beginning characterized by resolutions and excitement for what’s to come in the new year. By the second week, we’ll settle back into our old habits. The excitement will wane and resolutions will be neglected. Their momentum just not enough to carry them more than a few days.

As a small business we should be focused on realistic goals for the new year. In a few months, when we look back on today, what will we wish we had set out to accomplish?

Perhaps one of the easiest goals to reach is diligently tracking our time daily using online time tracking software. It requires only a few clicks a day, and the data we’ll accumulate is indispensable in making educated business decisions.

Time Tracking isn’t that Difficult

Time tracking may seem overwhelming at first. It’s a discipline that needs to be learned, yes, but technology is only making it easier. There are so many time tracking apps online that make tracking your time a simple task. Log in, click a few buttons, start a timer, jot down some notes, then go on doing whatever it is you do. When that’s done, enter your time. The software does the rest.

Your Estimates Could Be More Accurate

Even if you aren’t billing hourly for your time, it’s still a good idea to track our efforts. We want to know how much time tasks are taking to complete, not how much time we think they are taking. When we estimate our time, even our best guesses are going to be way off. It’s too difficult to objectively estimate time. Some people will underestimate how much time a task will take, while others will overestimate. The only way to improve our estimates is to track the actual amount of time those tasks take and use that data to make more educated estimates going forward.

You Will Have to Wait ’til Yesterday is Here.

Today you might be thinking tracking time is either a waste of time or too daunting to even start. Don’t let these misinformed opinions get in the way. Start small. Track your time against a few projects and tasks for a few days. Then move on to more projects and tasks. You will soon find it second nature.

The payoff will come months from now, when you are faced with an important business decision or bringing on a potential client, and that time tracking data you’ve accumulated will provide an objective reference point. It is easy to get swayed by emotions when making tough decisions, but it’s difficult to argue with the data.

Looking back on yesterday, you will be glad you tracked your time. There is a road of opportunity out before you, but travelling it requires you start tracking your time today.

If you are looking for online time tracking software to get you started, take a look at our application, Intervals

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee

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Intervals is online time, task and project management software built by and for web designers, developers and creatives.

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John Reeve

John is a co-founder, web designer and developer at Pelago. His blog posts are inspired by everyday encounters with designers, developers, creatives and small businesses in general. John is an avid reader and road cyclist.
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Michael Payne

Michael is a co-founder and product architect at Pelago. His contributions stem from experiences managing the development process behind web sites and web-based applications such as Intervals. Michael drives a 1990 Volkswagen Carat with a rebuilt 2.4 liter engine from GoWesty.
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